Documentaries are a useful perspective on the world for you to consider. They not only open our minds, but take to places and times we are unable to reach by ourselves as well. Here’s a list of some mind-blowing documentaries probably less promoted than the mainstream ones that I consider to be life-changing. Here are 6 documentaries that will change your perspective on life forever.
#6. Jodorowsky’s Dune
Some of you may not be familiar with Alejandro Jodorowsky’s movies, such as El Topo and Holy Mountain. They are a bit hard to digest, but once you get the taste of them, they are incredible. It appears that one of his greatest dreams was to make a film abot the 1965 Sci-fi book Dune, written by Frank Herbert. Starring his own 12-year old son Brontis alongside Orson Welles, Mick Jagger, David Carradine and Salvador Dali, featuring music by Pink Floyd and art by some of the most provocative talents of the era, Jodorowsky’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi novel was intended to change the cinema industry forever. But what his dream turned into is worth finding out by watching this touching documentary.
#5. Roger and Me
This is Michael Moore’s 1989 debut that takes a look at the closing of a GM plant in Flint, Michigan. It is a touching look on Moore’s hometown, with exec Roger Smith as an obvious character how ruined it, Bob Eubanks, “Flint’s most famous native son”, or Rhonda Britton, a neighbor who sells rabbits for “pets or meat.”
#4. The Up Series
Since its first 1968 episode, the Up documentary series has traced the lives of a group of British children from a variety of backgrounds and different areas of the UK, returning at seven-year intervals to take snapshots of their lives. Directed by Michael Apted, its last released episode was 56 Up, in which all but one of the original 14 participants takes part. It’s fascinating to see what has remained from the dreams of a bunch of 7 year olds, how they were as children, teenagers and adults. And these are real people we’re talking about here. You must watch it. It’s absolutely inspiring and sad at the same time.
#3. Night and Fog
This one is all about human violence and exploitation, with an overwhelming hidden anguish. Ten years after the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps, filmmaker Alain Resnais documented the abandoned grounds of Auschwitz. Made in 1955, it’s one of the first cinematic reflections on the horrors of the Holocaust. Night and Fog (Nuit et brouillard) contrasts the stillness of the abandoned camps’ with haunting wartime footage. A survivor, Jean Cayrol, was the narrator, who spoke in detached tones of an empty and decrepit Auschwitz.
#2. Sans Soleil
In this 1983 documentary called Sunless in English, we’re joining a world traveler as he moves between locations, from San Francisco to Africa, from Iceland to Japan. A female narrator speaks over the images as if they were letters home. It’s very personal and touching and it’s an incredible perspective on the world we live in.
Shoah is Claude Lanzmann’s 1985 documentary, a nine-hour look at the Holocaust that cannot be watched without personal involvement. It interviews survivors, bystanders, witnesses and even SS officers directly responsible for genocide. But the questions posed by the director are so good that they send chills down your spine. Not to mention the answers he gets. One of the most memorable scenes reveals a graying man singing a quiet tune on a rowboat floating downstream, with lost eyes. We learn that as a 13-year-old Jewish captive, he was loved by his SS guards for the incredible voice he had.
I don’t think popcorn is suitable for watching these, but make sure to have your loved ones around. You’ll need their support.